Why Ask For Salary History?

There have been countless blogs, articles and LinkedIn posts about whether or not recruiters should be allowed to ask for salary details and performance history.  There have even been laws brought in to prevent recruiters asking for this information in the US.

It’s an issue which has caused candidates to walk away from great career opportunities and has caused recruiters to not be able to put candidates forward for roles.

As executive search consultants specialising in sales positions in SaaS we think that asking for salary history and OTE’s are a necessity.  We don’t believe these figures help in hiring diverse talent nor do they provide a benchmark in future potential earning, however they do provide an insight into the motivations,  drive of a person and previous career achievements.

Sales people have targets and by finding out how much they earn and what percentage of their target they are achieving gives us an insight into whether they are driven enough to be able to achieve their target with our clients – in a new role.

For us, knowing the salary and target history of a candidate doesn’t benchmark their earning potential or their base salary for the future, however if there is a big base salary difference we usually ask the candidate what warrants them deserving such a big pay rise in a new position – its not a trick question.

Current salary information also gives recruiters and perspective employees an indication into whether they can afford you. Great recruiters will have inside industry knowledge such as salary information and OTE’s of a number of roles, so we can talk to our clients to negotiate salaries they are offering if needs be.

Don’t be inaccurate about your targets. Great recruiters will always ask for examples of your best deals and which companies these were with – never exaggerate to a recruiter as it will destroy the trust between you which could mean missing out on this opportunity as well as others in the future.  Read our blog ‘Honesty is the best policy’.

If you really are hitting your numbers, telling a recruiter your earning history shouldn’t be an issue. Hiring is based on ability, and in sales positions your number reflects that.  If there are circumstances that have led to bumpy performances share these with your recruiter, they are on your side as well as their clients.